Instructing Middle Schoolers in the Bronx

Internship provides aspiring teacher training and feedback

Danielle Schaefer ’18 gets to test her career plan this summer when she tutors 8th graders in math at a Bronx high school.

The English and secondary education major from Lake Villa, Illinois, is participating in Breakthough New York, a nonprofit that mentors low-income students and prepares them for college.

“I want to help kids who are disadvantaged and could use extra help,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer, who is active in her sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, heard about the program at a Greek life leadership conference and said it sounded “amazing.” She filled out a lengthy application that required her to include a video of herself teaching a mock lesson.

The nine-week program includes five weeks in the classroom with two morning math classes and a drama elective in the afternoon. That’s preceded by three weeks of training in lesson planning and classroom dynamics. The interns also receive a final week of evaluation. Schaefer is receiving free housing in a dorm at Long Island University in Brooklyn and a stipend to cover living expenses.

While she has a lengthy commute to her school in the Bronx, she’s learning the ins and outs of New York City. She particularly enjoys exploring the city’s famed art museums.

“I could see myself living here,” she said.

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